Contrast Between the World of the Court and the World of the Forest in, “as You Like It”. By shamming ‘As You Like It’ is a pastoral, romantic comedy by Shakespeare and one of his last. It is a piece largely inspired by pastoral plays which originate from ancient Greece, than being carried on in Rome and so forth. These plays typically dealt with a shepherd and his love for a fellow shepherdess. These plays depicted the rural. Country life as ideal and close to a paradise.
As You Like It’ was also greatly inspired by Thomas Lodge’s Roseland’, the plot and characters being so similar that some would even go as far as to call it a rip off but even Lodge’s work is very similar to works before it. A character who was not in Lodge’s work but perhaps best emphasizes the contrast of court and forest is Touchstone. Touchstone Is the official court fool and so has license to freely crestless court as he wishes. Although Touchstone does crestless the court, In the play he Is frequently seen as court personified.
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A part of the play where this loud be most obvious would be with his encounter with William, who pines for the same woman whom Touchstone has claimed in engagement. William Is of the country and Touchstone woos him with words and embraces the poor boy. Touchstone ridicules him, asking “Art though learned? ” and when William replies no Touchstone orders his departure, threatening him with many synonyms so that he may understand. An earlier encounter though, with another country man leaves Touchstone in anger as it is obvious that the country man, Coring, was the victor in the confrontation.
Touchstone ridicules the way of the shepherd becoming progressively more nasty. He asks Coring, “Waste ever in Court, shepherd? ” to which Coring tells him no. Upon hearing this Touchstone informs him that he is damned and explains his reasoning upon being questioned. Coring keeps calm and perhaps sarcastic while Touchstone becomes more Infuriated. Con tells him “You have too courtly a wit for me, I’ll rest. ” But Touchstone continues. Corn seems to be the ‘bigger man’ one might say by not continuing with the argument and so may symbolize the triumph of the impel life in the country over the sophistication of those at court.
Touchstone, court personified, becomes less likable throughout the duration of the play. Where at the start he seemed a friendly fool he later seems to be a vile bully. One thing most criticized of Touchstone Is his relationship with Audrey. Audrey Is a simple, young, country girl who Touchstone mesmerism with his wit. Their relationship is purely lustful, carnal, and physical all on Touchstone’s part and exploitations. This can be taken to be reference to society and industries’ exploitations of the countryside and tauter in general in today’s society. One most Judgmental about this relationship is Jacques.
Jacques is an almost wannabe fool who criticizes Touchstone, yet looks up to him. He is not bound to any domain and so satirized the world at large. He is at first critical of the forest which he willingly entered, and constantly complains and laments. Jacques ones up Decoding somewhat more moral In ten Tortes Ana Tabors It to life at court, staying in the country come the end of the play. Scholar John Russell Brown states that Jacques’ function is to alert the audience to Shakespearean reoccupation with order in society, and the link between the forest of Arden and love.
It is also thought that Jacques is initially one of the only people who see through Raising’s guise as Ganymede. Roseland is banished to the forest as Duke Senior’s daughter and took to the forest in man’s attire adopting the name Ganymede. Roseland as Ganymede is perhaps the most central character in the play, freely criticizing anyone, especially herself and her lover. It is clear that she finds the forest liberating. In the forest she does not have to follow the expectations of court and as a an the expectations that comes with being a women does not apply.
She mocks yet flirts freely with her lover Orlando. Orlando himself entered the forest, fearing for his life from his brother Oliver (who upon entering the forest is saved by Orlando and has an instant change of heart and falls in love with Alien). Orlando stumbles upon Duke Senior and his men, appearing very hostile and out of character as he first perceived the forest to be a place of savage brutality. Duke Senior informs him “Your gentleness shall force more than your force move us to gentleness.
He is also an almost slave to his brother at court, working with little or no pay and living in a barn. He is an equal among those in the forest with no possessions. Amines sings a song about Orlando hardships from Oliver and Duke Frederick because of their Jealousy. The angry and evil characters are those at court, leaving one perhaps wondering if it is because they are at Court as Oliver has a change of heart upon entering the forest. Amines also sings a song reinforcing the sense of bliss and celebrates the life in the forest of Arden upon entering.
It appears the forest is a place of ideal values and it is also important to note that all of the love matches are made in the forest, such as the love between Oliver and Alien, Oliver and Roseland, Touchstone and Audrey, and Phoebe and Silvia. Another dramatic method used by Shakespeare to show the contrast between court and forest is the staging of relevant scenes. For example, Act 3 scene 1 is a short scene involving those at Court and their growing rage and paranoia, specifically Duke Frederick.
It is one of the only scenes showing life at court after the main character’s departures and it is not a good one, with Duke Frederick yelling at Oliver and demanding things of him. Meanwhile, in the scene before this, Duke Senior and Orlando have struck up a friendship. The scene after the one at court shows Orlando pinning a love verse to a tree for Roseland to find, showing the good intentions and peacefulness of those in the forest. Later though in Act 4 scene 3, Orlando fights a lioness and it is clear the wild nature of the forest isn’t everything it is cut out to be.
After this scene also, Oliver arrives in the forest, signaling the return of court and death of life in the forest. The play does end soon afterwards on a happy note, with most married off by the goddess of marriage. Than returning to live at court. It is obvious Shakespeare set out to make an escapist comedy, glorifying life at the country but still showing it’s flaws. Life at court is flawed in it’s pretentious nature, yet something about life in the country with it’s simplistic values is missing. ‘As You Like It’ portrays the Forest more so as a place for retreat than to live in.